What’s the Difference Between a Pallet, Skid, and Crate?

Ankur Khurana

Preparing your packages for shipping is an essential part of ensuring the safe and timely delivery of your shipment. When it comes to packaging a shipment, one of the key aspects to keep in mind is that you use the right materials.

What are you shipping? Do these products need to be extensively secured? How important is the mobility of your shipment? To answer all of these questions, we’ll be discussing the differences between skids, pallets, and crates, and which one is right for you.

Which option is right for you?

Deciding between if you should use a pallet, skid, or crate depends on the type of product you’re shipping and what you’re looking for while transporting freight. If you want the cheapest and most mobile option, then the skid is for you. If you want an option that’s secure, stackable, and always reliable, then pallets are the way to go. 

Lastly, if you mostly ship items that need to be secure and don’t mind a bulky shipment, then the crate is your best option. 

You may use these different options to ship different items, though, in most cases, we’d say the industry-standard pallet would be the best and simplest option for most of your shipping needs.

What’s a pallet?

The pallet is the most common and most used way of shipping and storing freight. Typically, the dimensions of a pallet are 48” X 40” and they can carry up to 1000 kg of any given product. The major difference between a pallet and a skid is that a pallet has a second flat bottom deck. This makes the pallet easier to move by forklift; however, it makes the pallet harder to drag than skids.

The bottom deck also makes stacking pallets for storage easy and provides increased cube efficiency and sturdiness. If the bottom deck weren’t present, it’d be more challenging to correct the weight distribution and make the shipment more likely to fall while being loaded or unloaded by a forklift.

What’s a skid?

The skid is the original pallet. The terms skid and pallet are often used interchangeably though they aren’t the same. A skid, unlike a pallet, has no bottom deck. The absence of the bottom deck makes the skid a cheaper version of the pallet and makes it easier to drag (less friction).

Due to this change in design, the weight of the skid doesn’t rest on the bottom deck but rests on its vertical slats or legs instead. This provides the skid mobility in contrast to a pallet, which makes the skid a good option to move materials from one place to another. The skid is also good for non-mobile use and is often used as the foundation of heavy machinery.

Another advantage of a skid is that it uses less space and can be easily stored when nested. “Nestable pallets” are also, technically, skids; they still don’t have that bottom deck. Nestable pallets represent a more flexible middle ground between the benefits of a skid and those of a pallet.

What’s a crate?

The shipping crate is different from a pallet or skid. The crate is basically a box that has four walls. The crate is used especially for holding supplies, products, or anything else that needs to be more extensively secured and protected. These crates hold a large volume and are stable; however, they’re also bulky and harder to transport.

Ankur Khurana is a content writer for Freightcom, expert in LTL and courrier shipping.
This is the second article in a three-part LTL series provided by Freightcom.
Freightcom is a cloud-based software platform that makes it easy to manage your entire shipping process and take advantage of our discounted shipping rates.

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